After the Nov. 5 massacre at Fort Hood, San Diego FBI agents received a lot of attention when lawmakers and others discovered that the alleged shooter in the killings 13 people at the Texas army base had communicated with a Muslim cleric once based in San Diego.
FBI agents here had intercepted e-mails between Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi. But someone decided the e-mails weren’t worth pursuing further. And Hasan is now accused of one of 2009’s most horrific crimes.
Now the question is who decided those links between Hasan and al-Aulaqi weren’t worthy of follow up. The Washington Post recently quoted unnamed sources saying that San Diego agents did not send some of the most alarming messages to D.C. Now, unnamed sources tell us, in fact, that the local agents pestered Washington about them.
Whatever happened, somehow the government missed red flags even with the post-Sept. 11 protections in place and there is a major effort underway now to figure out how.
In other news:
- A Buddhist Temple, tucked away in City Heights, was once a place where new refugees from places like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to start to get their bearings in a new land. Now, as the oldest of these refugees prepare for death, the temple is learning how to help them again. We profile one of the few, if not only, places in San Diego set aside for Buddhist burial, where members created their own little life insurance pool before they even knew what life insurance was.
- The Chargers yesterday won in dramatic fashion, clinching not only a playoff spot but the second seed in the AFC, meaning they’ll get a week off before making a run for the Super Bowl. Check out images of the tough battle with the Bengals from photographer Sam Hodgson here.
Now, from other sources of news today, the shortest day of the year:
- The Associated Press profiled Archie’s Acres in Valley Center, a commercial organic farm where combat veterans are shaking off “the trauma of war by turning swords to plowshares.” The Veterans Administration places war vets at the farm to help with therapy. Owned and run by Colin Archipley, the farm is part of a trend of helping veterans keep their minds and hands busy gardening and farming while they acclimate to life at home again.
- The Union-Tribune warns that a strike of taxi cab drivers is likely to grow. While dispatchers reported they hadn’t missed a customer yet, the paper says 400 drivers might join 150 already striking to persuade Yellow Cab to lower its weekly rate for those who lease the cabs. We detailed cab drivers’ complaints about inequities in the system in this 2008 story.
- And finally, something called the World Records Academy claims that a San Diego man — Barry Green — has lost his claim as the holder of the record for the longest consecutive massage. Costa John, from Montclair Village, now supposedly holds the hallowed record after he gave more than 50 hours of chair massages consecutively.
Fifty hours of massage in a row — tough to compete with that. Hopefully the Chargers’ success is enough to assuage the sting of this injury to our collective pride.
— SCOTT LEWIS